Strengths: Comfortable ride, great looking Ti, extremely durable, titanium frames make you go stronger and longer (something about the characteristics of the material), non-integrated headset model.
Weaknesses: Ugly decals
I've owned my Firenze for almost 8 years and it's still going strong. I bought the bike used with the components of a wrecked Roubaix and slowly upgraded over the years. From the first day I've always felt that I can perform better on this bike than my steel bikes or any carbon or aluminum bike I've ridden. I'm a big guy and this frame is perfect. I did notice some flex in the bottom bracket when hill climbing but corrected that with a Chris King bottom bracket that puts the bearing outside of the BB for greater support. The bike is smooth and non fatiguing.....a great ride!!! I only wish the Ti was polished like some of my Litespeed mountain bikes. Love the performance, welds and colour of Ti!!
Bike Setup: Full Dura Ace groupo; custom wheelset with Chris King R45, HED Belgium, Sapim CX-Ray, Schwalbe Ultremo ZX 25mm; Ritchey WCS carbon seat post, stem and Streem handle bars; Chris King BB and headset; Reynolds Ouzo Ultra Lite; Selle Italia SLR Ti; Brooks leather bar tape.
Strengths: Comfort, long-distance/sporting performance, ease of maintenance, liveliness, durability, construction, price (yes, price: Ti bikes are more expensive than carbon or alu, but this one was very fair considering how it was kitted-out), looks (after it was liberated from its gaudy decals).
Weaknesses: A bit on the flexy side for racing & all-out riding, overly-short head tube means more spacers.
I originally bought this bike from my LBS as new old stock two years ago when I wasn’t sure if I’d like cycling. I was looking for a steel bike as recommended by a cycling zealot friend of mine, but got a really good deal on this bike instead. (Someone put a deposit on the bike and never came back to the store!) I had never heard of Litespeed but saw the positive reviews on RBR and decided to give it a try.
Over the last two years and 10,000kms my cycling has improved a lot, and I’ve learned a lot about my riding style and things I like and don’t like, which has led me to change a number of components on the bike. Now I love this bike. The biggest upgrade was the fork. I can’t believe how much difference that made: descents that were nervous are now totally solid and the bike generally feels WAY more stable, quiet and maneuverable than with the original Real Design HP fork. Another big improvement came from new wheels I had made – they feel much lighter, smoother and more maneuverable than the FSAs the Firenze came with. (I also removed the bike’s original ‘1980’s-Flock of Seagulls’-styled decals and replaced them with clean black “Litespeed” decals so the bike looks much better!)
My riding has focused mostly on longer “spirited” rides (pushing hard, lots of hill sprints, occasional flat sprints, for 100+kms) and some charity tours (800+kms over 4 days). The Firenze is great for this type of riding: really comfortable, reasonably light weight, with great road feedback and very little harshness for long rides. You can go fast and feel great when you arrive at your destination.
I wouldn’t describe this as a race-oriented bike: I am not a large rider (146lbs, 5’-9”) but have found there to be too much flex in the bottom bracket and head tube areas under hard accelerations and maximum out-of-the-saddle power climbs to make it the first choice for racing. Some of the head tube flex might have been avoided if the head tube wasn’t so short: I’m reasonably flexible with a 5” saddle-bar drop but I still have 30mm of spacers under my stem. However, I don’t think this model was designed for racing, anyway.
It is a wonderful frame to build a bike from. Even though you can tweak it by changing a few “personal” items (bar, saddle, stem, wheels), I would argue that nothing NEEDS to be done to the stock bike to have a very competent, enjoyable ride that should last you a lifetime.
Overall I’ve been very happy with my Litespeed Firenze and would recommend it to anyone who wants a comfortable, good-performing bike for the “real world”.
Strengths: Ride quality, responsive, the Ti frame is super easy to keep clean and will likley last longer than I will!
Weaknesses: A little pricey but worth every penny.
I left my intital review way back in May or June of '06. Back then I was a happy camper with my then brand new 2006 (the last year they made the Firenze) model Litespeed. It's been a wonderful bike. I've upgraded twice, Easton Circuit wheels with Michelin Krylion Carbons (Dec 2008)+ swapped the FSA Gossamer crank for the Ultegra SL compact last April and both upgrades have only made it a sweeter ride. It's fairly light, really responsive and I love the ride that the ti frame (which is also so easy to maintain) provides. It's a keeper!!
Strengths: Fantastically smooth, supple, comfortable and safe ride. Great handling. Terrific brakes. Very comfortable geometry for long fun rides. Practically a touring bike in the traditional Italian sense.
Weaknesses: Well, Carbon bikes can be lighter than this, but I don't care. The road feel is so much more supple with Titanium.
i checked off that I am a recreational rider, because i don't race, but I ride 2000 miles a year, mostly on the Firenze. What a great frame and great design! My longest rides are 75 miles,but a few times a year i do more than 3000 feet of vertical ascention on a 50-60 mile ride around Marin County. The bike is plenty light for that, and so comfortable. The handling is so good, i feel very safe on the descents.
Mostly, I love how supple and shock-absorbing, but accurate feeling the Titanium frame is. Kind of like steel, but at half the weight. I wore out a Carbon Bike (20,000 miles), and while I know they have improved, they always seem to lack the true road feel and liveliness that this particular Titanium frame has. Just love it.
Favorite Ride: The long way up Mt. Tam via Fairfax
Purchased At: Village Peddler, Lar
Similar Products Used: Cadex Carbon Fiber by Giant was my previous bike. No comparison though. Tried a variety of mid-priced Carbon bikes before I bought this.
Bike Setup: Ultegra. Replacement Titanium rail MTB mountain bike racing saddle for comfort.
a Road Racer
Date Reviewed: February 1, 2008
Strengths: strong, light and sturdy.Great bike for the money.Would buy one again.Easy to adjust.
Weaknesses: the cosmos wheels were making a lot of noise when new, they needed adjustments often.I took me a while to figure that the noise came from the spokes, titanium exemplify noise and make it hard to diagnose.
I love this bike, put in around 6000 mile. The cosmos wheels are a little heavy, I only use them for fall and early spring training. I bought a new set of FSA that are great and were cheap,also updated to a Sram 11/23. I have a full Ultegra 9 speed and it's great, the bottom bracket was hard to remove the first time I tried, use a good tool to remove it not the junky park,the head set will need replacing this summer ,this is my fourth year with this bike and it's normal wear, the Cane Creek last pretty good.